hard boiled eggs and za'tar, molasses and tahina dip, nadia's tips, thoughts on middle eastern cooking, tips on middle eastern cooking
Here is a novel way to eating hard-boiled eggs: With the tines of a fork crush a hard-boiled egg until finely crumbled, add 1 tsp of Za’tar (Thyme mixture available at Middle Eastern stores) and 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, and mix. Spread on warm toast. Accompany with a nice cup of tea. Yummy!
To make your own Za’tar Mixture: Stir together 3 cups of dried and ground up Za’tar (Thyme) leaves with 1 cup toasted sesame seeds; add salt and sumac to taste. A bit of citric acid may be added for additional tartness.
Tahina mixed with molasses (half and half) makes a deliciously sweet dip – for bread.
Olive oil is a must with certain dishes, e.g. Hoummos, Tabbouleh, Foule Moudammas, Labany. Middle Easterners are very particular about their olive oil; they prefer it greenish in colour, substantial in consistency and distinct in its olive aroma and flavour.
Herbs and spices play an important role in Middle Eastern kitchens. What is Labaniyeh or Shoushbarak without the garlic and mint added at the last stage of cooking? Chicken soup without the parsley is not what it ought to be; Laban-emu needs cinnamon for the right flavouring; Falafel cries for cumin and basil.
Preferably and time allowing, meat used in stuffings should be between raisin and grape size, not smaller – traditionally called ‘bird tongue’ size’ – for regular ground up meat tends to disappear when cooked.
hi…just rediscoverd your blog back up . great tips…just tried the hard boiled egg and zaater “pate” and it was so delicious, very nice..I grew up eating zaater and zeit with eggs as side but never combined like that..is that traditional Palestinian? or an innovation?looking forward to more recipes and your book
Hi Mariam, nice hearing from you!
That egg and zaatar tip was passed on to me by one of my husband’s sisters who lived for many years in Nablus, before emigrating to the United States.
Again with appreciation, I remember another one of her tips (a recipe really) that she passed on to me. It took place on one of her visits to us here in Canada.
One day, as I was about to prepare Hoummos be Tahina for lunch I discovered that I was short of Tahina. (What was I to do? How do I feed the crowd?) She sensed my dilemna. She placidly took me to the side and said, ‘Here, I’ll show you’… And she speedily and efficiently went about preparing a big bowlfull of Hoummos Mahlous instead. Tart, nutritious and delicious! Flavoured with fresh lemon juice, ornamented with chopped parsley, diced sweet bell pepper and annointed with virgin olive oil it was quite a treat! With crusty, freshly baked Arabic bread ‘Khoubez Kimaaj’ right out of the oven it was a meal to remember!
And since then Hoummos Mahlous has become a staple in our home – and always connected to my sister in law…
One day I will post Hoummos Mahlous on the blog…
All the best to you,
wow yummy.. that sounds like hummos balila as we call it..we add cumin to it as well and garlic..the zaater/egg pate was something so delicious and I couldnt believe it ! as I have known zaater/zeit all my life with a hard boiled egg on side BUT combining them just takes it to another place… a keeper tip for me. thank you again
Speaking of hummos, one tip I have that learned from some old time high quality shami fouals and falafel makers was to that in order to get the best most succesful hummos bi tahineh one must peel the chick peas after cooking by rubbing the skins off with palms of hand and plunging them water..skins float to the top.once all peeled drain and puree with tahineh etc..the end result is a dense, smooth..creamy, intense flavor and glossy texture, and so much easier to digest..,they told me this was done long ago but many home cooks know nothing about it..for falafel you skin the peas after soaking .you can buy fava already peeled.here you get a lighter fluffier crumb and crispier exterior and and again so mush easier to digest,,.once you eat these dishes like this you cant otherwise!… salamat mariam
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